Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

School

Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, MA: World Missions

First Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Abstract

Background to the Problem. The world’s religions outside of Christianity have still hardly been touched by the gospel. This is especially true of Hindus, which make up the third largest religious group in the world. The time for new understandings and approaches is long overdue. -- Problem. The challenge of understanding how to present the God of the Bible to Hindus in a meaningful and lasting way continues to perplex the mission-minded person. For centuries this challenge has been present, and yet the gap between Christians and Hindus in many ways appears to be increasing. This study looks at God’s mission in the Old Testament with a focus on the encounters between God and His people with people from the surrounding “nations” in order to develop a more biblical approach to the challenge. Three relevant narratives are analyzed in detail in order to gain working theologies that can be applied missiologically to the Hindu context. The first chapter gives an overview of God’s mission in the Old Testament and compares the “nations” with Hindus of today. The next three chapters are divided into three narratives that include cross-religious encounters: Naomi and Ruth, Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, Elisha and Naaman. These three narratives each highlight specific elements of God’s mission to the nations: Naomi’s attitude of hesed that leads to Ruth transforming her worldview to follow Yahweh; the widow of Zarephath’s experience of God’s power that leads her to a clearer understanding of who God is; and Elisha’s encouragement of Naaman to “go in peace” despite Naaman not having a fully accurate understanding of God. These three narratives provide a foundation for better missiological approaches to Hindus. At the same time they are an example of the potential that Old Testament narrative holds for missiology in general.

Subject Area

Missions to Hindus., Christianity and other religions--Hinduism., Hinduism--Relations--Christianity., Missions--Biblical teaching.

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